Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
This is another book that I tried to read when I was very young and just couldn’t get through. That being said, if I hadn’t had to read it for school, I wouldn’t have finished it this time around either.
While Oliver Twist is an interesting read and the mystery unfolds in a way that keeps you guessing, I just couldn’t get through the unrelentingly terrible treatment of orphan Oliver Twist.
The story follows Oliver from his birth in a workhouse through his various caregivers who are all selfish, unloving, and even cruel. He’s labelled as a bad seed from birth and treated that way for hundreds of pages. Any spark of hope, any light at the end of a tunnel, is instantly squashed and things are left even worse than they were before. It might be intrigue for some, but it’s just not something that I look for as a reader.
On the other hand, after slogging through, I was pleased with where the story went and I enjoyed learning more about the criminals and their motives. Oliver does eventually meet some people who aren’t completely evil, but then the problem arises of them being entirely too good.
The characters were one dimensional and even Oliver never really changes. Despite his circumstances, he remains the same naive, innocent little boy who famously asks for more gruel.
The ending comes up rather quickly and ties up the loose ends a little too perfectly for my taste, but I was dying to know how everything worked out, and Dickens leaves no stone unturned. Even the most minor characters, including the dead ones, get a mention in the last few chapters and nothing is left to the imagination— a blessing, or a curse, depending on your preference for finality or sophistication.